so this is my first night/first 12 hours in alexandria and i have just been… processing. i’m recovering from 24 hours of uncomfortable plane seats and 150 pounds of luggage, barely walking on solid ground for a total of 3 days AND gross processed airplane meals — except, lufthansa served camembert with bread on the last flight and it is because of that and these that i love europe.
but egypt is somethign else — i regret having been in the states for so long and not stepping outside of that world, and it really is a different world. this isn’t a clash of civilizations idea or anything, i just haven’t seen a landscape, a street, a vendor that isn’t in the cement-paved, two-car-garaged, suburbs of the united states since i was in lebanon in 1998. and because i was 10 years old when i went, that trip doesn’t even count. but egypt — alexandria — is something else. and i haven’t even been outside of the girls’ dorm here, or medinat aljami3iyya. but i can tell you what i feel – i heard the azan while sitting in the car on the way to alex from the airport, and i got goosebumps. i walk up the stairs here at the dorm and i feel a cool breeze from the open window — without a shabak/screen — and i just am forced to stop and breathe and stare out the window, which is dangerously large and waist-level and i realize how it is okay to live on the edge of life. and how we live so safely, so padded, so protected and shielded from life in the us. and how we take our breaths for granted, we take window screens for granted, we take people for granted, life for granted. people here know that the streets are dangerous, they know you have to pray 10 rik3at before you cross the street, they know life isn’t perfect here but they also know that it is life – as opposed to a career that devours every other aspect of your life. the united states are the united states but this is where i want to be right now and i am very relaxed and content. i haven’t felt this way in a while.
there goes my first romantic entry about egypt — maybe it’ll be the first of many and maybe it will be the absolute last. looking forward to feeling more about this place.